Retired NBA player, Amar’e Stoudemire announced on Monday that he will join Hapoel Jerusalem.
Stoudemire, who was a six time NBA All Star and one time All NBA first team selection, partially owns the Israeli club for which he will play next year.
Stoudemire will have to sell his ownership stake in the team in order to play.
“A dream come true,” claimed Stoudemire, who believes he is a descendant of the biblical Hebrew people.
“This is a very, very emotional decision for me because at this moment, I have to uproot my family who have been stable in the U.S. to move to a different country,’’ said Stoudemire. “It’s also a spiritual journey as well. The next phase of my career – people have documented my journey with the Holy Land the last six years, the interest in playing in Israel. That dream has come true.’’
Stoudemire, who returned to the New York Knicks ceremoniously to be retired in the jersey he donned for five years of his career, admitted that he had thoughts of returning to the NBA for another season.
“We had a brief discussion with Miami. It didn’t go far,” said Stoudemire in an interview with the New York Post. “I wanted to compete. The reason I left to New York [at the end of the 2015 season], I was to trying to win a championship. I know my time was limited as far as my NBA career. I wanted to take advantage of my health. If that wasn’t the case, I would’ve stayed here in the rest of my career.’’